I had lunch with Roni. He’s my friend since my days as student in ITB. The last time I was here, December 2007, we also had lunch together. It’s already 1:30PM but the Food Hall of TD building was still so packed. The meeting point was Hero, that premium burger chain…. but we didn’t have Hero though.
Before we started to eat, he showed me a printout e-mail that he had with Diwi – another friend from ITB that’s living in Colorado now. He told her that he and I were going to have lunch together just to make her red with envy. Jail lo, Ron. *smile*
I got to know him better during the lunch hour. We talked about our friends back in Indonesia, our lives here, his work, public policy in both Indonesia and Canada.
I knew why he ended up in Geology ITB. Jokingly, I asked, “Did you feel like you’re lost in a dessert island then?”
I knew why he ended up in Canada. Still jokingly, I asked, “Did you regret it? You know you can make it big time in Indonesia.”
His was not an expected answer coming from a person who’s used to skip classes during his senior high school at SMA 3 Bandung or skipped many classes and activities during the last four years of his campus life in ITB because he already had construction business:
I know many of my friends are very rich (so rich that it’s beyond your imagination) and are very prominent (mentioned so many times by upper scale influential network or crème de la crème) people right now in Indonesia. I know this is our time if we’re still living in Indonesia. We have the network, we have the connection, we know how things are done, how to push certain buttons. But, I made a decision and I still believe in my decision – it’s still not a good place to raise kids. Right stuff should be right and wrong stuff should be wrong. But, in Indonesia there’s no right and wrong. How you can teach your kids good values when in practice virtually all values are turned upside down? (It made me recall Bimbo’s song titled “Hitam Putih”: alangkah payah membedakan, yang batil dan benar, di dalam jaman begini edan.)
Lo tau nggak gimana rasanya ketemu sama seorang bapak yang udah senior di salah satu bank pemerintah abis Jumatan bicarain soal ‘jatah’. Gue emang sembahyang dan gue tau gue bukan Muslim yang sempurna… tapi ngeliat tuh Bapak narok sarung bekas sembahyang Jumatan di sandaran kursinya terus dengan enaknya ngomongin soal ‘jatah’ dia, gue yang malu jadinya. Seakan urusan dunia sama urusan Tuhan adalah dua hal yang berbeda. Seakan Tuhan bisa disogok dengan sembahyang Jumatan. Banyak gue ngalamin hal kayak gini. Dan orang-orang kayak gini begitu dipuja-puja di Indonesia. Gue kerja dari pagi sampe malem – kebanyakan cuman buat nyenengin orang-orang kayak gitu kalo lagi punya mau. Gue ampir nggak pernah ketemu anak gue. Nggak Beth, gue nggak nyesel. Gue juga nggak nyesel masuk Geologi ITB, pan gue jadi kenal elo, hehehe… *smile*
“I’ll have reality check when I go back to Indonesia with my family next month,” he said. “You should join the reunion next month in Bandung,” he added further.
“I will if I can make it. Let’s have another lunch before you go back,” I said before we parted.